I was working for GQ when I took the plunge and pursued my dream of blogging full time. The blog had been my side hustle and it had reached a point where it grew and required a lot of my time. SITC’s now two and a bit years old and in that time I’ve worked full time, experienced the most unpleasant pregnancy and had my beautiful baby. So even today, without my role inside Vogue House, it still feels like SITC is a side project that I’m juggling alongside my life commitments. And I know I’m not alone. So here are my tips.
Shot on iPhone
When I began blogging I was so secret squirrel about it. Mostly through fear of being judged (beginner content is never A*) but also because I didn’t want people to think I was being distracted from work. But in fact, many employers all around the world embrace the fact that you have a passion outside of work and many would look favourably in an interview to hear about your interests outside of the usual shopping and socialising with friends.
Even if you’re a singer/songwriter in your spare time, be upfront. If you’re blogging your nights away, open up about it because we’re more popular than you think. It’s reported that on WordPress there are 59.3 million posts published each month! Not everyone is forthcoming in admitting their side hustle, which is a shame because it frees up so much anxiety giving space for creative energy to flow.
Be Efficient & Productive With Your Time
Can’t concentrate? Easily distracted? Obsessed with checking social media every 5 minutes? I used to be like this then I read somewhere that to maximise your time, you need to focus. No surprises there. So I adopted the The Pomodoro Technique. It’s super easy, you just invest time in 25 minute intervals to a task and then reward yourself with a short break. In your break, get up and get a drink of water, go water your plants or put some plates in a dishwasher. It gets you into the habit of focusing and not procrastinating.
If social media continues to consume your attention, download a great app at Freedom.to to block certain apps or websites so you can crack on with what you need to do.
For optimum productivity we need 8 hours of sleep, good and nutritious food, rest, exercise and stimulation. I think back to the times when I first started my blog alongside a my full time job. I was also learning Hebrew at the same time. Unfamiliar with plate spinning I’d often eat badly because I was stressed and bad at time management. This caused me to put on weight, drink more than I should (work hard party hard not always a good mantra) and get an awful night sleep. When it came to working in the night on my blog I’d be hopelessly tired and make mistakes.
Today I understand the importance of prioritising myself – and then the blog. When I feel refreshed, I’m more vibrant. These days I aim for 8 hours sleep or more (early nights) and a daily bath with a relaxing candle and my favourite bubble bath. I always read before bed too, even if it’s just for 10 minutes to get my body into a bedtime routine making it easier for me to drift off. I have a new breathing technique of in for 3, hold for 4 and out for 5 which is also proven to encourage your nervous system to go into relax mode.
Talk To Yourself
One of my secrets to juggling is my internal dialogue. It’s so easy to get carried away of wanting immediate success, instant acceptance and speedy growth. As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day! There have been times where I’ve turned down thousands of pounds worth of paid opportunities because I’ve simply not had the time and didn’t want to put pressure on myself. My motto right now is ‘you can have everything in life, just not at the same time’. And it’s true. Exerting yourself and expending energy trying to catch your tail all of the time is not a proud way of ‘balancing’ your side hustle. Do what you can in the time given and don’t expect too much of yourself. It makes the rewards so much better when you achieve plenty of small wins.
I used to think that by drinking gallons of coffee everyday (sleeping 3 hours a night with a crying baby to look after all day) I’d be SO PRODUCTIVE! Wrong. In actual fact all of this caffeine contributed to a breakdown I had a couple of months ago (more on that another time) and presented me with nothing but angst. Since quitting the caffeine (including Diet Coke and chocolate)and ditching the alcohol (now tee total) I’ve felt more productive, rested, energised and more creative than I’ve ever felt before!
And Everything Else…
Never underestimate the power of being organised. Since I’ve dedicated set hours of the week to my blog I’ve been more productive and make the hours count. Because I know I’m not going to be able to work again for another couple of days.
Save! Save and save! Many aren’t fortunate to have generous parents, family or partners who can cover the bills. So it’s crucial to give yourself a financial cushion for rainy days. When I left my job, I discovered two months later that I was pregnant. So suddenly I couldn’t work on so many sponsorships. Then having had my baby 9 months later, I found it so difficult to juggle. So without that financial cushion to support me through unexpected pregnancies or that proverbial boiler breaking I would be screwed!
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Black Eyelet Top – River Island
Alexa Cropped Jeans – River Island
Green Cat Eye Glasses – ASOS
Black Sandals – Pretty Little Thing